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Sep 15 2020

Avatar x YPAC: Getting creative to transform the energy industry

Posted by TC Energy


This summer saw the first-ever virtual session launch of the Avatar program, designed by Beaver Drilling Ltd., the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada (YPAC) and the University of Calgary. The program, which is a collaborative networking and leadership development forum, encourages participants to design innovative solutions for the future of the energy industry.

The program was comprised of six, two-hour sessions led by some of the industry's most senior leadership and culminated in a “Shark Tank” style case competition, where nine groups pitched their solutions to some of the energy industry's biggest challenges. A small-but-mighty team of YPAC members, including TC Energy employees, Ana Villarreal, YPAC Calgary co-chair and the program architect, and Katia Greco, YPAC member and Stress Field EIT, worked tirelessly to design and execute the program.

“From behind the scenes, it was beyond humbling to witness the impact of the sessions week after week. Above all, as a young professional it was inspiring, especially in current times, to hear the participants’ pitches about the future of the energy industry,” shares Katia of her experience.

This year the program also had the pleasure of hearing from a few unique mentors, such as George Whitesides, Chief Executive Officer of aerospace giant Virgin Galactic and TC Energy’s Chris Foster, Vice-President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer. Avatar x YPAC also hosted both the Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan and Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage in their first-ever joint ministerial session, where the ministers had an engaging dialogue with the participants.

How did the participants do?

Of the 54 participants, 11 were from TC Energy, working on the following topics:

  • Hydrogen in the new energy future
  • Energy advocacy
  • Innovative pipeline and construction techniques
  • Digitization in the pipeline industry

The judges for the “Shark Tank” event – who represented a diverse range of leadership within the energy industry, including Jawad Masud, Senior Vice-President, Operations and Project Execution – gave budding innovators the chance to secure their business proposals that could change the face of energy.

“All of the participants rose to the occasion and represented our company in an exceptional and fascinating way. They put forward some really creative and thoughtful ideas that we will want to see how we can utilize as an industry and support as a company,” said Jawad.

Although no one from TC Energy was on the team, the winning group as selected by the judges was the carbon capture utilization and storage team, who pitched an integrated Canadian carbon management system that provides recommendations to support a lower carbon economy in Canada.

Learn more:

All nine pitches are being showcased in Canada’s largest energy publication, JuneWarren Nickels (JWN), over the next few weeks. Keep an eye on the JWN Daily Oil Bulletin to see what these talented individuals came up with!